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Full text of "To The Lighthouse"

TIME   PASSES

to have triumphed. The saucepan had rusted
and the mat decayed. Toads had nosed their
way in. Idly, aimlessly, the swaying shawl
swung to and fro. A thistle thrust itself between
the tiles in the larder. The swallows nested in
the drawing-room; the floor was strewn with
straw; the plaster fell in shovelfuls; rafters were
laid bare; rats carried off this and that to gnaw
behind the wainscots. Tortoise-shell butterflies
burst from the chrysalis and pattered their life
out on the window-pane. Poppies sowed them-
selves among the dahlias; the lawn waved with
long grass; giant artichokes towered among
roses; a fringed carnation flowered among the
cabbages; while the gentle tapping of a weed at
the window had become, on winters' nights, a
drumming from sturdy trees and thorned briars
which made the whole room green in summer.

What power could now prevent the fertility,
the insensibility of nature? Mrs. McNab's dream
of a lady, of a child, of a plate of milk soup?
It had wavered over the walls like a spot of sun-
light and vanished. She had locked the door; she
had gone. It was beyond the strength of one
woman, she said. They never sent. They never
wrote. There were things up there rotting in the
drawers—it was a shame to leave them so, she
said. The place was gone to rack and ruin. Only

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